What makes these Thai Coconut BBQ Ribs so tender and flavorful is that they're fully cooked a day ahead, and marinated overnight in a fantastic coconut-garlic-ginger-lemongrass marinade. Just before serving, all they need is 8 minutes on the grill to get them golden brown, juicy, tender and bursting with outstanding flavor. They are absolutely amazing!
When you recommend something too highly, there's always the chance that people will expect too much and be disappointed, but I'm not worried about that here. With a Thai coconut milk marinade that includes garlic, ginger, lemongrass, brown sugar, soy sauce and shallots, the flavors are out of this world. The fact that you can do all the messy prep work in advance is an added bonus. I discovered this unique and wonderful BBQ ribs recipe in Bon Appetite magazine in 1995, and I haven't stopped making them since.
HOW TO MAKE THAI COCONUT BBQ RIBS
My definition of a great recipe for entertaining includes that you can do all of the messy, difficult work the day before. In this case, the two racks of baby back ribs are cut apart, steamed, and marinated in the fridge overnight. Then all you have to do on the day of your dinner is throw the ribs on the grill for a few minutes before serving.
There's a wonderful harmony of many complex flavors in the Thai Coconut BBQ Sauce - a quality that is prized in Thai Cuisine. Credit for this delicious BBQ Ribs recipe goes to Bon Appetite. I've tweaked the recipe only a tiny bit, adding jalapeño peppers for some bite, a tad more shallots, and an oven-steaming method for those who don't have a stove-top steamer.
- Cut the 2 racks of baby back ribs apart into individual ribs, or ask your butcher to cut them for you.
- Steam the ribs until tender, about 20 minutes. This can be done on top of the stove in a conventional steamer or a pot with a steamer insert or you can steam the ribs in the oven in a foil-lined baking pan. See the recipe directions below for more details on how to rig up an oven or stovetop steamer.
- Marinate The Ribs Overnight: While the ribs are steaming, make the marinade by pureeing coconut milk, cilantro, brown sugar, shallots, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, jalapenos and salt. Uncover the ribs and let them cool a bit, then toss them with the delicious Thai coconut sauce and marinate them in the refrigerator overnight. Note: Lemongrass is a key flavor component of this Thai marinade. If you've never used it before, see below for a few tips on how to cook with lemongrass.
- Grill The Ribs: Just before serving, remove the ribs from the marinade, transfer the remaining coconut BBQ marinade to a saucepan, bring it to a boil and pour it into a serving bowl or gravy boat. Set the ribs on a hot grill and cook them for 8 minutes, turning them halfway through, until they're hot and have a beautiful golden brown crust. Serve the Thai BBQ ribs with delicious coconut barbecue sauce on the side.
HOW TO COOK WITH LEMONGRASS
Lemongrass is a tropical plant that's very popular in Thai cooking. It adds an exotic, lemony flavor to a recipe. If you've never used it before, it can be challenging to figure out. The outer shell is very hard. But there are many layers and each one you peel off exposes one that is more tender underneath.
When you're shopping for lemongrass, look for a firm long stalk. Cut off the lower root end and a few inches of the thin pointy end. Peel off one or two tough outer layers along the stalk. Then slice the stalk crosswise with a sharp knife. Lemongrass is extremely stringy and fibrous inside, so you'll need a food processor or blender to further break it up.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THAI COCONUT BBQ RIBS
- Thai cucumber salad
- Japanese Potato Salad
- Chimichurri Broccoli Salad
- Moroccan Carrot Salad
- Butter Lettuce Salad with Citrus Honey Vinaigrette
Other Delicious Thai Dishes To Try:
Here's the Thai Coconut BBQ Ribs Recipe. I'm excited for you to try this! If you do, I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print
Originally published May 30, 2013. Updated June 16, 2021 with several new photos, added nutritional information, and clarifying details added to the written post and to the recipe. The same delicious recipe!